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Apple accounts for 20% of all 2012 US consumer technology sales revenue

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Apple was the third-largest consumer technology retailer in the U.S. in 2012, while its products accounted for the largest share of revenue among consumer tech companies.

New data released by The NPD Group on Tuesday revealed that Apple accounted for 19.9 percent of all domestic consumer technology sales, based on revenue, from last year. That number was up from the 17.3 percent share Apple took in 2011.

Apple's revenue easily beat out rival Samsung, which came in second with 9.3 percent, up from 7 percent in 2011. The rest of the top five saw their share of revenue fall in 2012: HP dipped from 8.9 percent in 2011 to 8.2 percent last year, while Sony and Dell both slid to 4.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Together, Apple and Samsung accounted for $6.5 billion in increased sales in 2012. Meanwhile, the rest of the consumer technology industry saw sales decline by almost $9.5 billion in the U.S.

As a result, despite the gains seen by Apple and Samsung, retail sales in U.S. consumer technology declined 2 percent to $143 billion in 2012, according to NPD. Sales were also off less than 1 percent in 2011.

"While sales fell in consumer technology for the second consecutive year, there was an uptick in Q4 which is cause for optimism," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "After struggles with declining categories, and increasingly saturated markets over the last few years, fourth quarter’s results may be the first sign that even as a mature industry consumer technology can grow again, albeit with a very different dynamic than in previous growth spurts."

Apple also ranked third among consumer technology retailers, behind only Best Buy and Walmart. The Mac maker finished ahead of Amazon and Staples, which took fourth and fifth.

The top five categories for consumer electronics in the U.S. were notebooks, flat-panel TVs, smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Together, they accounted for 53 percent of sales in 2012, up from 49 percent in 2011.


The only two categories in the top five to see year-over-year growth were tablets and smartphones, markets where Apple competes with the iPad and iPhone.

The one market among the top five where Apple does not have a presence is flat-panel television sets, though there have been indications for years that the company may be interested in entering that market. NPD said that in 2012, HDTVs were "mired in a cycle of declining prices and weak volume."

While smartphone sales were up 25 percent and tablets surged 42 percent, flat-panel TVs saw sales decline by 7 percent. Notebook computers were also off 9 percent at U.S. retailers in 2012, while desktops slid 11 percent.

"The fact is that the stellar growth of the past few years has made growth today more difficult," Baker said. "Most market segments have high penetration rates and the demand for additional devices is slowing, or declining. Tablets and smartphones have been able to stimulate demand for additional devices, but unfortunately it hasn’t been enough, yet, to sustain positive growth trends."